To us visual types, business plans are a snoozefest. We put off updating them. And when a business plan isn’t updated it doesn’t grow with you.
What we need is a LIVE business plan. A road map. A field guide. Something we can set goals and plan with that’s easy to update and moves forward with us.
We need something that’s FUN to look at and work in. Something that’ll hook up with our other systems and poke us once in a while to remind us of what we need to do to stay on track.
My favorite way to make my business planning interactive is by using a free tool called Trello.
If you’ve never used Trello before, you can think of it like a white board with sticky notes.
- a Trello board is the whiteboard
- Lists are the sections or columns on the board
- Cards are the sticky notes
The basic concept behind working in Trello is to move from To Do to Doing to Done. As tasks are done, more can be moved to the “doing space.”
This method helps you ensure no task falls through the cracks. Also, it makes it difficult to have too much work in progress at one time.
Trello is best for visual planners. It allows you to see an overview of your work and gives you the option of:
- attaching files
- using checklists
- seeing tasks in a calendar format
- collaborating with others
- organizing with labels
Want to know more? Trello has a great getting started guide:
Here’s a rundown of the lists and cards I use in my Trello business planning board. You can adjust them to suit your preferences. As you’ll see, Trello is flexible enough to accommodate whatever you need.
Why and/or Mission Statement
- Why do you do/offer what you do?
- Who do you hope to help?
- Why do you want to help them?
Keep your why and/or mission statement accessible for those times when you’re lost, frustrated, or trying to create content, services, or products for those you serve.
Products and Services
Create a card for each product or service you offer. Things you may consider adding to these cards:
- Pricing or sales information
- Checklists for things you need to add or update
- Attach style guides
- Your promotion plans
When you’re creating content or services you’ll want to be able to revisit who you’re trying to reach. Create a card for each type of person you want to serve.
A few ideas for things you could add to these cards might be:
- What’s their age?
- What do they like?
- What’s their budget?
- What do they do for a living?
- Why might they be interested in what you have to offer?
- Where do they hang out?
- Common questions, concerns, or problems each customer type has or may have
- A photo or drawing of how this person might look
- Other sites, products, or services they like and admire
Business Goals and Timelines
Imagine it’s six months from today. If everything went right for you, where would you be? Get very specific. Use numbers and specific actions to make your goals measurable.
Maybe you want 500 new email subscribers. Or perhaps your goal is to publish three blog posts per month. Whatever your goals are for the next six months, create a card for each goal.
Why do we have to create a card for each goal? Because each goal will have a checklist with items you’ll need to complete to move you toward completion.
Use labels so you can see what aspects of your business each goal affects. My labels are: content, marketing, administrative, business development, financial, and tools/systems.
Set the due date to six months from today. You can either work directly within Trello or you can connect it to your task management system to track your progress.
Hey, it’s a year from now. What do you want to have happened?
Three regular clients? 1,000 newsletter subscribers? Two paid courses? An Etsy shop with 50 sales?
This will be the same process you went through for your six month goals, but your one year goals will be loftier since you’ll have more time to work on them.
Same process as above. Go BIG here. Go all out. Nothing you want to accomplish is too big to list in your five year goals section.
Try it even if you’re not comfortable with it. You can always change these cards if you decide to pursue other goals.
Is five months too far in the future for your business? Change the list name to two or three year goals. Or maybe you’re cool with six month and one year goals. The beauty of Trello is flexibility.
Now that you have your two, three, or five year goals down, revisit your one year and six month goals. What are some to-dos you could add to those cards to move you toward your five year goals?
I suggest setting aside time at least monthly to revisit your goals and assess how they will move you toward where you want to be in the future.
You reached the end! I hope this post got you excited about some of the possibilities Trello can open up for you in organizing your projects or business.
If you use Trello, I’d love to hear about it. I’m always open to learning new ways to use online tools. Leave me a response below with your best Trello tip. 😎
I’m a Tucson, Arizona-based web developer. I’ve been blogging since the mid-1990s and I’m knowledgeable in all aspects of maintaining an online presence from design to code to SEO and content creation. I live in an RV with my husband and in my spare time I enjoy photography, hiking, drawing, and playing video games.